An Ulster Scot

I am an Ulster Scot (Scots Irish as some prefer) and I was born in Belfast to an Ulster Scot working class family in 1962.  I was seven years of age when the most recent period of political and cultural strife rocked the north of Ireland.  This period was called the ‘troubles’ and lasted between 1968/9 and 1998 when the Good Friday Agreement  was signed and like many I was a child of the troubles.

During this period passions ran high within a divided Northern Ireland (and still do).

A view of the Antrim Glens

A view of the Antrim Glens, Ulster

Northern Ireland is part of Ulster and is made up of six of the nine counties of Ulster and was a result of the Partition of Ireland which split Ulster between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

I was born in East Belfast which was, and is, a predominantly Ulster Scot area of Belfast. My parents had 10 children (not uncommon in those days), 7 girls and 3 boys (I was number 7 in line).

I attended Euston Street Primary School (which is still a thriving urban primary school).  I lived just a few minutes away at 22 Quinton Street which was known as a two up and two down (house), i.e. two rooms down stairs with two bed rooms upstairs with an outside toilet and of course no central heating or hot running water – I can still remember the old Belfast Gas light fittings in the house!).

Moved to 21 Willowfield Street in 1975, which was nearby, and we experienced a house with an actual bathroom for the first time. I attended a local secondary school called Orangefield Boys Secondary School  until the age of 16 (which has since closed its gates) and left school without any qualifications.   Here is an interesting blog about Orangefield during the period I attended it and my experience of the school was not much different.

I started my education again at the age of 23 with 5 `O’ Levels and did various courses at undergraduate level with the Open University as part of their Arts programme (this was my first real introduction to the Protestant Reformation in Europe).  I went on to study accounting at the University of Ulster and graduated in 2000 at the age of 35.  I also did some post grad work with the University of Ulster on Public Administration and with Melbourne University on International Development.

A beautiful Ulster Sunset

Ulster Sunset over the Mournes

I married at the age of 38 (July 2000) to an Asian.  We have two children (girl and boy) who are now 14 and 12.

From 2000 to 2005 I worked in Charities in Northern Ireland in financial management (working with the Corrymeela Community for three and a half years) but went overseas to work with international non-government organisations (INGO’s) as part of the South East Asian Tsunami response in Indonesia and worked  there for two years.  I continued to work overseas until February 2016 when I returned to my beloved Ulster.

I have lived and worked in a number of countries in South East Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, East Timor), East Africa (Kenya, Southern Sudan, Uganda and Somalia) and the Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon) and thus the term ramblings of an Ulster Scot.

Like many Ulster Scots I have a personal faith in Christ and this is laid out here.  I am not ashamed of my heritage or my culture for despite its faults it has had a significant (positive) impact in the development of modern Western culture.

Originally posted 2016-05-08 22:59:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Lived and worked in Muslim-majority countries for over 12 years while working in the international development sector as a senior director/manager. This included South East Asia, East, and West Africa (including the Horn of Africa), the Middle East and Afghanistan. Main interests in life is the study of Political Islam and how this has interacted with non-Islamic civilisations, especially Judeo-Christian civilisations, in history and currently.

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